In 2012, the City of Houston, Texas developed an excellent training video entitled RUN. HIDE. FIGHT– with funding support from the U.S Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In response to the recent active shooter incidents – from an Oregon Community College, to the San Bernardino terror attack and the Navy Yard shooting in Washington, D.C. – security directors around the country are making this video available to all of their employees as part of a new emphasis on raising security awareness in the workplace. If you’re a Director of Security, consider integrating this video into your active shooter planning and workplace violence prevention program.
The DHS Run, Hide, Fight Video: A Terrific Security Awareness Tool
The video begins with a white male wearing sunglasses and body armor, entering an office and shooting innocent people. The video provides three response options for anyone in an active shooter incident: run, hide or fight. As I watch this video, the same thoughts crowd my mind as they do with any active shooter incident:
- Who is this individual?
- What motivated him to do this?
- Was he a concern to others before he precipitated this attack?
- Were there pre-attack warning signs that were observed that should have been reported?
- Could this have been prevented?
- Was his case – and the risk that he represented to the company – being managed by Security?
- Had he been referred to an established multi-disciplinary threat assessment team?
Why Your Employees Represent Your Force Multiplier
Remember: in most cases, active shooters use firearms and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims. Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. And, given how quickly these incidents unfold, law enforcement usually arrives on the scene after the carnage has already been inflicted.
What’s that mean to you as a Security Director?
- Focus on prevention.
- Prioritize the education of your workforce: they represent your greatest force multiplier.
As we’ve learned from past incidents, active shooters in workplaces are often a current or former employee, contractor, guest, vendor or someone known to an employee, such as a spouse. All employees – especially managers – need to be educated on how to observe the warning signs associated with potentially violent behavior. It’s rare that an employee will “snap” and become violent without showing any warning signs beforehand.
4 Strategic Steps to Save Lives
Start with the prevention and mitigation stage of the active shooter plan before moving on to the preparedness and response phases. As a security director, there are four critical steps you can follow in order to help prevent workplace violence:
- Conduct a workplace violence needs assessment. The results of this evaluation will help drive your program priorities and planning in critical ways.
- Update, enhance or replace your workplace violence policies and procedures.
- Train all employees on workplace violence procedures including knowing the warning signs and how to report these.
- Provide training exercises in preparedness and response to an active shooter.
For more information on how a needs assessment can impact your security plan, please contact me.